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Italy Day 1 – Milan to Lake Como

June 6, 2015

Well, I’m back from Italy with 2,800+ photos and videos… I have no idea where to start because even paring those down gives me over 200 decent pictures that I want to share and DANG that’s a lot of photos! I’ve decided it might be easier (and come on let’s face it, so much more fun) if I did a day by day entry of my trip. This way I can summarize the order of events and highlights of the day in words and by my camera.

I’ve been asked by quite a few people about the trip and my normal response has been “Great!” or “Awesome – Fantastic!” and my favorite “Jet lag. Tired. Food. Good. Country. Beautiful. Zzzzz”. Everyone seems annoyed with this response because they want details, but hey, if I had to summarize just how amazing of a trip it was, I would never get any work done and then I would get fired and wouldn’t be able to take any more incredible trips and how sad would that be? So for everyone’s benefit I’m just going to tell my story here starting with Day 1 – Car to JFK, Plane to Milan, and finally Car to Varenna.

Like I said, we worked that Thursday and then drove down to JFK for a direct flight into Milan (we got a smoking deal on the plane tickets – only $650 RT). My parents were already on their way from FL and we met in the terminal. This is where I mention how absolutely terrible the food is in the JFK international terminal – but let’s not get off topic. After a little time and a gorgeous sunset, we were boarded and ready for our 8 hour flight.

nyc sunset plane

Photo credit to my dad

We took off before 9pm and for some reason they decided to serve dinner around 10:30pm which meant the lights didn’t go out until way after midnight. I had prepped myself for sleep and was anxiously awaiting lights out, which in turn only really gave us 3.5 to 4 hrs of sleep total. We slept through breakfast and woke up just in time to catch a breathtaking view of us flying over the alps. Landing shortly after, the next 15 mins we pretty much spent walking the mile it took to exit the airport. The customs agent barely looked at our passports, and no one asked us to declare anything, we basically just walked outside like it was a domestic flight. I had planned for a pick up to take us directly to our Airbnb because I knew I was in no shape to deal with trains and foreign languages with 3 hours of airplane sleep. Marco, our driver, spoke around 4 words of english, but it didn’t matter because everyone was passed out in the back seat anyway. We arrived to a rainy lakeside town around 12:30, but we couldn’t check in until 2pm, so we took our seat in the town square, luggage and all and watched a wedding across the street while I drank a hot cocoa made purely out of a chocolate bar, and John got a taste of his first pizza.

There is only 1 square in town, and this was it 😉

Varenna (4 of 10)

John says “I’m awake!” (not)

thumbs up

Yes this is a Gator blanket in Italy.

christa in varenna

Well, we met up with the owner of the apartment at 2pm and turns out they needed until 3pm to finish cleaning… womp womp. Luckily for us, we were able to leave our bags and stroll around town. The rain let up and the clouds were rising up from the mountains. In fact, the weather was so perfect the entire time we were there, but my favorite scenes were right after the rain cleared and we were able to see the lake for the first time. No one was around because they were all hiding from the rain, so we had the tiny town to ourselves if at least for the next few hours.

Varenna (1 of 1)-2Varenna flowers

I can see why George Clooney likes the area so much (or at least that’s what everyone says), it really is typical northern Italian gorgeous. The old winding pathways and hard to walk up stairs that all lead straight down to a crystal blue green lake, dotted by vibrantly painted buildings with terraces and so much character.

Classic Varenna scenes


This is one of my favorite shots of the area, so serene.

varenna lake como

I soon found my favorite subject to take photos of during the trip (aside from light bursts behind monuments)… DOORS! So many crazy beautiful, old, unique, colorful, full of life doors. I will probably dedicate a full post to the doors of Italy, but this shot will have to suffice for day 1.

door with vines

Finally, we made it into the apartment, settled in and headed to dinner where I may have had the best pasta e fagiole soup I’ve ever tasted, and John the freshest pesto pasta. (We were all secretly jealous of John’s dinner)

Check out the view from our airbnb apartment – score!
view from airbnb

It doesn’t look like much, but best soup EVAR
pasta e fagiole

Fresh fresh fresh 😀
best pasta ever

Stroll back in the drizzle with our pink umbrella

pink umbrella-1

It was finally time to go to bed – or at least close enough to it so we wouldn’t be too jet lagged. Goodnight beautiful view, we’ll see each other again in the morning.

clouds over lake como

Varenna apartment

Varenna apartment

On to Day 2

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